Neural tube closure defects caused by papaverine in explanted early chick embryos

H. Lee, R. G. Nagele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Papaverine (50 μg/ml) preferentially inhibited uplifting of neural folds in explanted stage 8 chick embryos. Affected neuroepithelial cells often lost their wedge‐shaped and elongated appearance. Also, luminal surfaces of most affected cells were smoother than usual as evidenced by the marked decrease in the number of cytoplasmic extensions, but the integrity of other structures (including cytoskeletal components) was noticeably affected. The observed changes in cell surface topography were due, at least in part, to the impaired ability of apical microfilaments to contract and their eventual relaxation. The “relaxing” effect of papaverine on neural folds could be reversed by subsequent treatment with ionophore A23187. Since papaverine and ionophore A23187 are known to alter the normal distribution of intracellular Ca2+ and changes in cell surface topography are correlated with contractile activities of apical microfilaments, papaverine elicits neural tube closure defects by lowering intracellular free Ca2+ levels, thereby relaxing contracted apical microfilaments in neuroepithelial cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-331
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1979
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Embryology
  • Toxicology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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